Reilly withdraws as candidate for by-election
31 January 2005 19:46
The man who was expected to be Fianna Fáil's candidate in a Dáil by-election in Co Meath, Tommy Reilly, has said he is no longer in the running for the post.
Mr Reilly, who is the chairman of Meath County Council, said he had been the subject of a witch-hunt by sections of the media over a field near the village of Skryne that he bought with the political lobbyist Frank Dunlop.
Mr Reilly said that for the sake of his family he had informed Fianna Fáil this morning that he was stepping aside as a candidate.
The party had been investigating the land deal before ratifying him as its official candidate.
Councillor Reilly said he would not be standing as an independent, nor would he be leaving the party.
He said that he would support whoever the party chose but acknowledged that the Fianna Fáil campaign had been damaged locally.
Fianna Fáil said later it had noted Councillor Reilly's decision, and that it will now be moving to find a replacement candidate as soon as possible.
Environment Minister Dick Roche said he was very sad to hear Tommy Reilly's decision to withdraw his candidature.
He said it was very unfortunate for Cllr Reilly and his family, given that "nearly everyone" accepted he was not guilty of any wrongdoing. Business as usual..
Tara Tycoons - political cronies poised to make fortunes
John Lee, political correspondent, Ireland on Sunday
Major developers who are also financial backers of Fianna Fáil stand to make millions from the controversial M3 motorway which conservationists say will destroy the historic Hill of Tara.
A company controlled by multi-millionaire builder Joseph Murphy Jr - whose main business, JMSE, was exposed as corrupt the Flood tribunal - owns valuable lands along the route.
So too does multi-millionaire Fianna Fáil backer Cathal McCarthy, formerly a business partner of Frank Dunlop, the corrupt former government press secretary, and of Des Richardson, a close friend of the Taoiseach.
Both Mr Murphy and Mr McCarthy stand to make millions from the sale of land needed for the motorway - which campaigners say will destroy some of our most important archaeological sites - and for the construction of intersections.
But Mr Murphy, in particular, stands to make even more substantial profits from the hundreds of acres of land which he owns within a few miles of the motorway route and which may well be opened up for development once construction is completed.
Support for the M3 route formed a major part of the Fianna Fáil campaign in Friday’s by-election - even though archaeologists and ecological activists have compared it to Egypt’s Valley of the Kings and insist that it should be preserved.
Mr Murphy faces an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau after playing a central role in the Flood/Mahon Tribunal into planning corruption. Mr Murphy and Frank Reynolds, the former managing director of JMSE who was also condemned by Mr Justice Fergus Flood, are beneficial directors of Newland Properties Ltd with an address at Ashley House, Batterstown, Co
Newland Properties owns 26 acres in Roestown, Ratoath, Co Meath, of which five-and-a-half acres are subject to compulsory purchase by Meath County Council for construction of the M3.
But in recent years, Newland Properties has bought up more than 130 acres in nearby Ratoath, Dunshaughlin, Dunboyne and ther parts of south Meath near the proposed route.
Though the CPO on the five-and-half acres is expected to net the company about €5m, the real potential for profit is in its other properties beside and near the M3 route. Inevitably, there will be pressure to rezone this land for housing and industrial development - a move that would bring in millions more for the two building magnates, according to property experts.
Frank Reynolds said the company owned more than 100 acres "if you take in Dublin and other places". "I think if you ask anybody whose land will be affected by the M3 or N2, they would say they’d rather have the land. I wouldn’t say I’d make a killing on it. You can’t do much with land that has a road running through it", said Mr Reynolds."I don’t know if you can do much with it building-wise as people don’t want to live by a motorway".
Land Registry documents show that Newland Properties also has a massive land portfolio in Dublin. JMSE has made huge financial contributions to Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats.
Tribunal star James Gogarty, when accompanying Joseph Murphy and another corrupt building tycoon, Mick Bailey, to a 1989 meeting with now jailed ex-minister Ray Burke to make a corrupt €30,000 contribution, innocently asked: "Will we get a receipt?"
"Will we f***," was the reply.
Cathal McCarthy, meanwhile, has made millions from the development of Navan town centre in partnership with another rich developer, Gerry Duignan. IoS has seen files that show Mr McCarthy owns 12 acres at the most controversial interchange on the motorway - right beside the Hill of Tara, ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland.
An additional 200-acre landback beside the interchange site was transferred to the name of Mr McCarthy since April 2004. The land is highly valuable given its proximity to the interchange and the M3. Opponents of the current route of the new motorway argue that the 29-acre, floodlit interchange will damage the Hill of Tara.
It has also been learned that in 1999, Mr McCarthy and Mr Duignan - registered with the Public Offices Commission as Duignan & McCarthy, PO Box 44, Navan, Co Meath - contributed £30,500 to Fianna Fáil. The contributions are listed as ‘£2,500 for attendance at a fundraiser, £3,000 for attendance at a fundraiser and £25,000 for attendance at a fundraiser’.
JMSE Managing Director begins evidence to Flood Tribunal - RTE News <http://www.rte.ie/news/2000/0125/flood.html>
Flood `obstructers'to face massive legal bills - Sunday Business Post <http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2003/05/11/story906...5.asp>
The Third Interim Report of the Tribunal of Inquiry into Certain Planning Matters <http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/special/2004/planning/...t.pdf>